5 Beginner Landscape Photography Mistakes and How to Avoid Them
Landscape photography comes with many obstacles that can make a beginner's journey difficult. To overcome them, you should familiarize yourself with common mistakes and their solutions. I have collected five of the most popular mistakes, of course only from my personal point of view.
1. Using a Shutter Speed That's Too Slow
As a landscape photographer, you want to capture as many details as possible in a scene. You use a small aperture and a slow shutter speed to create a beautifully exposed shot. When you look at your results, you notice some blur. This happens because your shutter speed is too slow.
To avoid this completely, use a larger aperture. You can still capture a lot of details with larger apertures than what you're used to. Most importantly, you can use a faster shutter speed, which means you'll be less likely to take blurry photos.
Each lens has its sweet spot when it comes to f/stops. There are many resources online that can help you figure out which aperture will give you the sharpest results. In general, your sweet spot is two to three f/stops from your lens' widest aperture.
2. Always Holding Your Camera While Taking Photos
Holding your camera while taking landscape photos might seem like a good idea. After all, you can quickly switch between angles. Unfortunately, this technique comes with many disadvantages, including blurry photos. You might not realise this until you come home and look through your images.
The best solution for this is investing in a sturdy tripod. You can also use a remote to take photos without actually touching your camera. This will ensure that your photos are are sharp as possible. Alternatively, you can use the timer feature in your camera.
3. Not Using a Higher ISO
Every photographers knows that a low ISO means less noise. If you constantly use a low number, you aren't taking full advantage of your camera's capabilities. Most cameras are pretty good at handling higher ISO, which means you don't need to worry too much about unnecessary noise.
You can use a faster shutter speed if you bump up your ISO. This doesn't mean you need to go way up. Anything that's too high can ruin image quality. Just go a little higher than what you're used to. If you typically use ISO 100, go up to ISO 200 or even ISO 400 and use a faster shutter speed.
4. Not Focusing Manually
Autofocus is an important part of landscape photography, but it can be a flawed system if you don't monitor it. If you focus on something that's far away, your camera might have a hard time picking the right spot. When this happens, you get a soft blur that simply doesn't look good in your pictures.
An easy way to avoid this is to monitor your results. If you notice a soft blur, use manual focus. If your camera has a focus peaking feature, you can use that as well. This feature will simply highlight the parts of your photo that are in focus. Small adjustments like this take time, but they can save you from taking landscape shots that you're not happy with.
5. Zooming in Too Much
Zooming in completely is tempting, especially if your desired landscape is far away. However, this can result in low-quality photos. If not that, then you'll have to deal with a bad crop or a composition that just doesn't look good.
To save yourself a lot of time, pick a scene that you like and zoom out a bit. This will give your photo some room to breathe. If you don't like your results, at least you'll have the opportunity to use the cropping tool without compromising the quality of your image.
Landscape photography is a massive world with many tricks, techniques, and obstacles. If you keep these mistakes in mind, you'll find it easier to grow as a photographer in this genre. Familiarise yourself with your camera settings, use extra equipment when necessary, and practise as much as you can.
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About the Author – Jan Erik Waider
I am a visual artist and fine art photographer based in Hamburg. My work focuses on atmospheric and abstract landscape photography of the North: Norway, Iceland, Greenland and beyond. – Read more about me, discover my fine art series, purchase fine art prints or download my latest Lightroom Presets or Capture One Styles.
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